Photo: Iain Bagwell

This unique spirit is inspired by a similar process used in Mexico to produce "mezcal de pechuga."

Mike Pomranz
October 12, 2017

If you find yourself in the mood for a gin and tonic this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, you now have the perfect spirit to reach for: The London-based gin brand Portobello Road is releasing what is being called the first-ever turkey breast gin – as in, yes, an actual turkey breast is involved in the distilling process.

As odd as making liquor with deli meats may sound, the use of turkey or chicken breast in the distilling process is far from unprecedented. Mezcal producers make an expression of the Mexican spirit called mezcal de pechuga ("pechuga" is Spanish for "breast") which involves hanging a raw turkey or chicken breast over the still which cooks in the vapors and supposedly adds flavor and body to the final product.

Portobello Road uses a similar technique for its new limited-edition release which is aptly named "Pechuga Gin." The company plans to redistill its original No. 171 gin in a copper alembic still that will include an organic raw turkey breast and 13 botanicals: apples, pears, plums, currants, raisins, sultanas, apricots, brown rice, passion fruit, cinnamon, cassia bark, nutmeg and mace.

"As the alcohol vapors pass through the turkey breast during distillation they add something almost indefinable to the gin," explained the brand's master distiller and director Jake F Burger. "You wouldn't really say it was a turkey-flavored gin. The flavor is very subtle, and whilst it adds, it also takes away, absorbing some of the more intense fruit flavors and stopping them from overwhelming the taste of the gin."

But though the specifics may be "indefinable," Burger also stressed that the results were perfect for the holiday season. "With its warming spices and dried fruits, this poultry-infused potable develops a distinctly festive flavor and we think that Christmas presents a perfect opportunity to drink this very special and uniquely indulgent gin," he continued. Keep in mind, they don't celebrate Thanksgiving in England. Little do they know what they're missing!

Portobello Road Pechuga Gin is set to go on sale on November 1 with a suggested retail price of £35 (or about $46). Sadly, it doesn't come with any slices of the resulting cooked bird.

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